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Lunar Love Giveaway Hop! Win a Werewolf Pack of THE LAST WEREWOLF & LONELY WEREWOLF GIRL

Lunar Love Hop

This hop has ended, and the winner is Ashley Rogers! Thank you to everyone who participated, and especially commented. I loved reading all your comments!

Welcome to the Lunar Love Giveaway Hop, sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Bookworm Lisa. This hop has 100+ blogs participating, and you can hop from blog to blog and enter to win cool books at each one! I decided to give away two of my favorite werewolf stories, since werewolves can usually be found by the light of the full moon:) One winner will receive these two books:

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The Last Werewolf  by Glen Duncan. Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you–and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.

Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide–even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend–mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century–a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.
One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years

Lonely Werewolf Girl

Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. While teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is being pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, the MacRinnalch Clan is plotting and feuding after the head of the clan suddenly dies intestate. As the court intrigue threatens to blow up into all-out civil war, the competing factions determine that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Unfortunately, Kalix isn’t really into clan politics — laudanum’s more her thing. Even more unfortunately, Kalix is the reason the head of the clan ended up dead, which is why she’s now on the lam in London. . . This expansive tale of werewolves in the modern world — friendly werewolves, fashionista werewolves, troubled teenage werewolves, cross-dressing werewolves, werewolves of every sort — is hard-edged, hilarious, and utterly believable.

Please be advised that these are ADULT books, and you should be seventeen or over if you enter. The Last Werewolf is scary, sexy and romantic. Lonely Werewolf Girl is hilarious, sad and unexpected. I love them both, and I hope you will too! One U.S. winner will receive paperback copies of both books! To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter button below. Please make sure to BE HONEST and complete the tasks you enter with! I do check all entries, so I appreciate your honesty:) Good luck!

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And don’t forget to check out the other blogs in the hop! Click here to see the list.

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Stacking the Shelves #1

This week I’m trying a different meme to share the books I’ve received this past week, and I’m happy to be part of Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.  Many thanks to my new buddy Lauren at The Headless Owl for bringing this to my attention!  So many new books have come out in the past couple of weeks that I placed a big Amazon order recently, which I just received a couple of days ago. Here are the books I bought:

Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan. Super excited to fit this into my schedule. I loved The Last Werewolf, and although the reviews for the second book in this series haven’t been as favorable, I don’t care. Duncan’s writing is luminous, and he writes a pretty mean story as well. The actual book is cool too. The edges of the pages are black, which makes this book a perfect companion to The Last Werewolf.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Already in a 6th printing, Flynn’s latest is a best-seller and has received rave reviews from many sources. I don’t usually go for best-sellers or mystery/thrillers, but this one has my attention. The jacket blurb describes this as an “…unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong.” Sign me up!

Wool by Hugh Howey. This internet sensation started on Howey’s website as a short story, I believe. It’s grown into something bigger, with publishing deals in more than one country. There are five Wool books, and an omnibus of all five is available on Amazon. I decided to purchase the first book to see if I liked it, and boy did I! It’s a science fiction tale of a future where people live underground in a buried silo because the air outside is poisonous. Howey is a very talented writer, and I was surprised by how good the story is. It’s certainly good enough to wind up in a “Best Of” anthology, in my opinion.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. A Stephen King-like story for young adults about a group of kids that get trapped in a superstore during a literal reign of terror, as natural disasters, including a hailstorm and a chemical weapons spill, take place outside the store. Seriously, that plot just screams Stephen King!  And it’s got a fantastic cover. Can’t wait to read this.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Here’s another young adult horror story that seems to be about zombies, but has a lot going on under the surface as well. A group of six students are trapped inside a high school when the end of the world comes, and they must battle the forces outside trying to get in, as well as a brewing battle among the survivors on the inside.  This is high up on my reading list!

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. This book is described as a re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which is a great reason all by itself to pick this one up. It’s a romance set in a future world where technology is outlawed. Kai and Elliot are the main characters who reunite after being separated four years ago.

I’m nearly caught up with my backlog of indie books that have been promised for review, and as soon as I’m finished I’ll start working on this pile! I’d love to know what you’ve stacked your shelves with this week!

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Tammy’s Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  If you head on over to their site, you can see other bloggers’ top ten lists too. This week is tough!  I mean, what do you do? Go back to the classics?  I decided to focus on books I’ve read in the past five years or so.  And I’ve noticed my list features lots of smart, beautiful, and resourceful women. With a couple of guys thrown in!  Here we go, in no particular order:

Rudy from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I love this book so much. And although I’m listing Rudy as my favorite character, I really love Liesel as well. This is a survival story, a love story, a sad story, and a story of hope. Liesel is the book thief, but I fell in love with her friend Rudy. Just read it, if you haven’t yet. You won’t regret it.

Candy from Emergence by David R. Palmer.  I’m so glad I thought of this book. It’s been years since I read it, but it ranks high up on my list of favorite SF stories.  Candy is an incredibly smart eleven-year-old survivor of a bionuclear plague.  With her pet parrot Terry, she sets out on a journey to find other survivors.  Yes, it sounds like a million other post-apocalyptic novels, but it’s unlike anything else you’ll ever read. I’m holding on tight to my frayed paperback copy, because unfortunately, Emergence is out of print at the moment.

Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore. I am eagerly awaiting Bitterblue, the final book in Cashore’s trilogy, but until then I can gush over Fire, the second in the series. In this world, Fire is called a monster.  She has fiery red, beautiful hair and can control people and read their minds.  She is such a unique character, that it’s hard to compare her to anyone else.

Jake from The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Jake is the last werewolf on Earth, and he is one bad-ass dude.  But he’s also handsome, suave and charismatic. Plus he has the heart of a poet. Or at least Duncan does. Jake has been around the block and has given up hope, and now that he’s being hunted, he’s almost ready to go quietly.  You kinda feel sorry for the guy, but he finds the will to live when he meets…well, I don’t want to spoil it for you…

Myfawny Thomas from The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. “Myfawny” rhymes with “Tiffany.”  That’s one of the first things you learn about this wonderful character, told in her own words.  I loved The Rook and just never got around to writing a review, but Myfawny’s first person account of how she wakes up in someone else’s body (she’s actually lost her memory) and how she solves the mystery of who exactly is trying to kill her is one of the more original stories I’ve read recently.

Unnamed narrator from Incendiary by Chris Cleave.  The subject matter about a London bombing at a soccer game is tough to swallow,  and I don’t think I would have been able to get through it if it weren’t for the heart-felt narration of a woman whose husband and son were killed in the stadium.  Written as a letter to Osama bin Laden,  the narrator’s voice is fraught with sorrow and anger, but she gets through the horrible days after the bombing with a wry humor. She is truly an unforgettable woman.

Iko from Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  One of my most recent five-star reviews, Cinder is a SF take on the Cinderella fairy tale. Its structure follows the events in the classic tale, but the unique characters make this quite different. I love the character of Cinder, but I actually loved her android Iko even more.  Iko is quite intelligent for an android, and she is Cinder’s constant companion.  She keeps Cinder’s secrets just like a real friend, and you won’t believe what happens to her near the end of the story, or how Meyer sets the stage for Iko’s reappearance in the next book in the series, Scarlet.

Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Kvothe is everything a great character should be: dashing, a talented musician and gifted with the ability to do just about everything well. He’s also irreverent and has a mysterious past. He makes women swoon and breaks lots of rules.  I didn’t like Rothfuss’ second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, as much, but I did find even more to love about Kvothe.

Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Here’s another quirky, intelligent and talented female character with colored hair! Daughter of Smoke & Bone was a favorite of mine last year, mostly due to the characters, but also because Laini’s writing is so vibrant and engaging. You can tell she truly loves the characters she is writing about, and that makes the reader love them as well. Deep down I want to be Karou, a girl who can make wishes come true and has blue hair.

Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  Although she is abused in the beginning of the story, Lisbeth gets her sweet revenge and never lets the bad guys crush her spirit. How can you not love a character like that? And she’s a computer hacker to boot. I don’t really want to be her, but I do admire her tenacity and focus.

So, who are your favorite characters?

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Tammy’s Top Ten Horror Books (They Aren’t What You Think)

It’s Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week we get to pick any genre or sub-genre we want, so I’m selecting some of my favorite horror stories, beginning with the book that started the vampire craze:

1. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice.  I read this a long time ago, lost my copy at my aunt’s house, then found it years later when I was staying with her, and read it again.  Rice’s first and best, in my opinion.  And to think she wrote the first draft in two weeks…

2. Watchers by Dean Koontz.  OK, I know Koontz is often blasted with bad reviews, but Watchers was unlike anything I’d ever read, and it made an impression on me.  I loved the concept of a super-intelligent dog, and I love Dean Koontz for being such a dog-lover. I don’t care what anyone says, Watchers is not only scary as hell, but a well-told story.

3. Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Black House is a sequel to King’s and Straub’s The Talisman, with Jack Sawyer now grown up.  I love the way these two write together, and Black House was creepier and scarier than The Talisman.

4. Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  A truly original vampire tale told as only a Swedish writer can tell it.  It was also made into two really good movies, one in Swedish and one in English. Despite the horrific actions of a young girl vampire, the budding love between the two young characters is sweet and unexpected.

5. The Ruins by Scott Smith. This book terrified me, but I could not put it down. It was later made into an awful movie, but the story of a group of college kids held prisoner in the Mexican jungle as they are killed off one by one by the evil jungle vines surrounding them (OK, sounds lame, I know) still makes me shudder.

6. Horns by Joe Hill.  Everyone probably knows that Hill is the son of Stephen King, but that’s not why I like him.  He’s got his own distinct writing style and I believe he can hold his own against his dad.  Horns is his second novel, a story about a guy named Ig who wakes up one morning to discover horns growing out of his head.

7. The Terror by Dan Simmons.  Simmons has written everything from science fiction to historical fiction to horror, and he does each brilliantly.  The Terror is long, but the pages fly by in this terrifying story that takes place in 1845 in the Arctic Circle, as the men aboard a stranded steam ship fight for survival.  Not only are they starving to death, but something out on the ice is hunting them down. One of the best horror stories I’ve ever read.

8. Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this unconventional werewolf story, considering it is told in verse. Not my favorite writing style, but the gritty, yet elegant descriptions of a man caught between two worlds held my attention to the end, and I’m curious to see what Barlow comes up with next.

9.  The Passage by Justin Cronin.  Part vampire novel, part post-apocalyptic nightmare, The Passage begins a trilogy about a six-year-old girl named Amy who seems to be the key to the downfall of humanity.  The second book in the series The Twelve comes out this year.

10. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan.  I loved this book and reviewed it here on Books, Bones & Buffy.  The writing is exquisite, raw and sexy as we follow Jake, said werewolf, as he dodges various factions who are trying to kill him.  Get ready to love Jake as much as I did.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2011

The year is almost over, and I finally get to post my top ten favorite books of the year. For the first time, I am participating in “Top Ten Tuesday” created by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they come up with a new top ten list and invite other bloggers to participate.  I read some great books this year and it was harder than I thought to narrow it down to only ten.  But I did!  And here they are, my favorite reads of 2011, in no particular order:

1. READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.  A high-speed romp through a future where virtual reality is the norm and knowledge of 80’s pop culture might lead you to hidden treasure.  OK, it’s really hard to describe this book in one sentence.  Ready Player One is filled with 80’s trivia, fantastic characters, and enough adrenaline to keep you up late reading. You can read my review here.

2. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE by Laini Taylor.  A young-adult novel about a mysterious girl named Karou who has blue hair and draws pictures of creatures that may or may not exist.  A beautifully written story and one of the most imaginative young adult books I’ve read this year.  It’s also the only young adult title on my list, and I read a lot of them.  Unfortunately, young adult books are all starting to feel the same to me, but this one stood out, not only for its content, but for the lovely and original dust jacket.

3.  THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.    A story that spans decades, The Night Circus is a surreal tale of dangerous magicians and true love.  Morgenstern’s prose is magical and lush, and I loved the dream-like experience of reading this book.  You can read my review here.

4.  THE FAMILY FANG by Kevin Wilson.  If you are looking for a stand-out story about a dysfunctional family, this is the one to beat.  The story of a family of performance artists, The Family Fang is a cautionary tale of how parents can damage their children.  It is funny, strange and sad, and I loved every word.

5. ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood.  This book originally came out in 2003, but I just got around to reading it this year, and I’m so glad I did.  It’s a beautiful and horrifying vision of a future where genetic engineering has gone too far.  Oryx and Crake is written in Atwood’s usual lush style and I could not put it down.

6.  THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan.  A bloody, sexy and funny story of, you guessed it, the last werewolf on earth.  I loved the characters, and Duncan’s writing is gorgeous.  You can read my review here.

7. INCENDIARY by Chris Cleave.  Although the subject matter is hard to read, this story of a distraught wife and mother who has lost her husband and son to a suicide bomber is a must-read.  The first-person narrative is powerful and even humorous despite the character’s pain and is the reason this novel succeeds on so many levels.

8.  STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett.  One of my favorite books of all time is Bel Canto by Patchett, and I’m happy to say State of Wonder is just as good.  The story takes us deep into the Amazon jungle on a search for a missing scientist. It’s got everything: drama, suspense and lots of mystery.

9.  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness.  In short, an epic story about the relationship between a vampire and a witch.  It’s much more than that, however, and I’m very happy that this is the first of a trilogy (Book Two comes out in 2012!).

10.  SWAMPLANDIA! by Karen Russell.  Another tale of a dysfunctional family, Swamplandia! is a story of a family of alligator-wrestlers. How can you not want to read this book?  It is poignant look at one family’s attempts to survive in a changing world.

It was a great year for books, and I’m looking forward to 2012.  Stay tuned for my next top-ten list, “Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2011 That I Wanted to Read but Didn’t…”

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THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan – Review

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Glen Duncan, and he’s written eight books. Where have I been? I wonder. I have a lot of catching up to do, because I loved this book. I love werewolf stories.  There is something appealing about a character who is compelled to commit monstrous acts, but whose nature does not give him any choice in the matter.  The werewolf is a tragic sort of beast, don’t you think?

Enter our werewolf protagonist, Jake Marlowe.  Jake has just been given some bad news: as of a couple of nights ago, he is now the last werewolf on earth.  This news is delivered apologetically by his long-time friend and human protector, Harley, a man dedicated to shielding Jake from “the Hunt,” a very determined group of werewolf hunters. According to Harley, Grainer, the head werewolf hunter, will have the honor of killing Jake himself on the next full moon. A complicated game of cat and mouse ensues as Harley and Jake try to prevent this from happening.

Two things set this book apart from other monster stories. First is Duncan’s writing style.  Glen Duncan is not just a writer.  He’s a writer’s writer.  Which means not only can he write a rip-roaring tale filled with action, danger, humor, sex, shady characters and redemption, but he writes it beautifully.  Reading his prose is like sipping liquid chocolate while soaking in a hot bath under a starry sky in a mountain-top retreat.  A starry sky with a full moon, of course.  The book is full of gorgeous sentences, like this one, where Jake attempts to describe a girl he has just noticed: “Certainly not ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’ but Saloméishly appealing, visibly smudged with the permissive modern wisdoms.” After only a few pages of this sort of writing, one almost doesn’t care what’s happening to the story.

The second thing I loved about this story is the complete self-awareness of the monster.  Unlike other werewolf stories where the human loses all sense of himself during the change and forgets what he’s done afterwards, Jake knows exactly what he is and what he’s doing as a werewolf. Becoming a wolf is a glorious, powerful, and erotic experience for Jake, whose first-person descriptions of how it feels to be in the wolf’s skin give the reader a unique experience.  We know from story and myth that werewolves have enhanced senses of sight and smell, but Jake’s unique perspective turns these senses sensual.  As Jake takes a life, the blood causes him to relive the victim’s life, as though watching a film strip sped up.  The experience of killing seems justified, and the reader falls in love with Jake the monster.

If some of the story elements seem predictable, then Duncan can be congratulated on his ability to make the predictable seem fresh and exciting. I won’t tell you what happens mid-way through the story. I can only say that Jake’s tale becomes infinitely more interesting, and readers will tear through the book at a breakneck pace to find out what happens. What more can one ask of a great book?

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